This past week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Massachusetts Attorney General filed a joint lawsuit against a business they allege collected at least $23 million in fees through deceptive and abusive telemarketing acts or practices.
In this article, we cover:
- How 40,000 people got tricked into yet another telemarketing scheme
- Why good people keep falling for scams
- The latest robocall trends in May 2020
The suit alleges that Key Credit Repair and its president/owner enrolled nearly 40,000 consumers nationwide, between 2016 and 2019, for credit-repair services and collected at least $23 million in fees since 2011. The complaint cites violations against the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA) and Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) for deceptive acts or practices and abusive telemarketing in which the company misrepresented its ability to substantially increase consumer credit scores and remove negative entries on credit reports.
As you might expect, “In many instances, however, Key Credit Repair failed to deliver the promised results.”
It’s a common refrain among credit reporting agencies: there is no quick fix for bad credit. The FTC warns that companies promising a new credit identity often sell Social Security numbers illegally. How can these scams continue to exist and at such a lucrative clip? Because people sometimes find themselves in desperate situations. Some consumers are being crushed by the weight of poor credit every day, sometimes due to circumstances out of their control. Good people want to do right by their creditors and will seek out fixes that seem too good to be true and unfortunately, that is more than likely the case.
Scammers Prey on the Vulnerable
One way to avoid the risk of deception is to preclude yourself from the offer. We’ve all received the unsolicited call or 20 offering a remarkable deal on health insurance, a free COVID-19 test, or a lifeline for student loan debt. It’s no coincidence that these offers coincide with hot-button topics: millions of people are dealing with very real health insurance coverage problems or being consumed by student loan repayments. That’s millions of marks — well-intentioned people at the end of their rope — for telemarketers and scammers to prey upon.
An easy way to remove yourself from harm’s way is to harness the power of a call blocker. By employing call blocking technology from a free service like YouMail, calls from unwanted robocallers including telemarketers, spammers, scammers, and debt collectors are automatically flagged and blocked for you. Now these menacing opportunists can’t take advantage of you when you’re down and out.
In addition to blocking hundreds of thousands of known robocaller numbers, users can add their own numbers they’d like to avoid to their personal call-blocking list. If there’s anyone you don’t want to talk to — that one annoying neighbor or an ex who just doesn’t get the hint — you can give them the full YouMail treatment: a “Number Out of Service” message, a busy signal, or any one of thousands of custom greetings shared by our community.
YouMail also gives its users the power to conduct a reverse phone number lookup, peruse trending blocked phone numbers, view recent spam activity from any area code, and more. In the fight against telemarketers and scammers, having access to this free data is invaluable.
May Robocalling Data Is In
YouMail has stopped more than 1 billion robocalls from being made and though we’ve seen a dramatic fall in robocalls this year, the total number ticked up for the first time in months. In May alone, 3 billion robocalls were placed in the United States. Atlanta (129 million), Dallas (112 million), and Houston (90 million) received the most robocalls of all cities across the country. Beaumont, Texas (18 percent), Denver (15 percent), and Erie, Indiana (15 percent) saw the largest month-over-month increases of the top 100 most robocall-dense cities in America. 37 percent of robocalls placed in May 2020 were categorized as scams; 19 percent were from telemarketers.
The May increase, albeit small, could very well signal the beginning of a worrying trend.
Whereas the coronavirus likely shut down call centers and reduced their workforce the past few months, the reverse is likely to take effect as businesses begin to reemerge — businesses including these call centers.
Stay tuned to YouMail’s robocall index to see if the upward trend continues into June. And if you’re not employing a call blocking service, you may not even need to check. Instead, you may start to feel the effect of millions upon millions of robocalls flooding carriers and eventually, your own device.